Sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest difference, especially for parents.
I was reminded of that on Sunday when replacing our kitchen faucet, and then again by Canadian technology columnist and broadcast personality Carmi Levy in a Monday blog post.
Estimated at 45 minutes, including removal of the old faucet, my job ballooned to three hours. I have done this before, and it was a fairly smooth and painless process. This time, however, the hot water shut-off valve was not quite stopping the flow, so I had to turn off the supply to our house.
On top of that, the hot water line running from the new faucet was too long, so I needed to bend an extra curve into our existing copper supply line to make it work. Despite my caution, I kinked the tube. I left for the nearby Home Depot to get a flexible hose replacement, and after some consternation over choosing right part (3/8″ or 1/2″, compression fitting, or flared?), bought enough parts to come up with a solution, and carefully tucked away my receipt so I could later return what I didn’t need.
Back in the kitchen, I sat down on the floor and leaned into the space under the sink, my ribs cushioned by a living room throw pillow. Laugh if you like, but I had toiled through the first hour of the job without that luxury. Our cocker spaniel provided moral support by cuddling up next to my bum.
As I finished attaching the hot water supply line, our son, almost in the final quarter of his eighth year, arrived home from his local grandparents’ house. He ran over to me and gave me a hug. “Daddy, what are you doing?”
“Just about to hook up the cold water to the new faucet.”
“Can I help you? I really want to do something with the tools.”
I had worked so long on this that I had no desire to make it a teaching opportunity, and frankly it was a little late for that. His eagerness, combined with his recent habit of immediately asking if he could play with friends, convinced me to let him help.
I held up the flexible line and showed him the copper fitting that would thread over the cold water spigot. I showed him how the crescent wrench fit over it and turned it. “Now, I will hold this where it goes, and you take this crescent wrench and turn it just like I showed you.”
He squeezed in beside me and, his outstretched arms holding aloft the large wrench, gave the fitting a few turns. He stopped and set down the tool.
“Heavy, isn’t it?”
“Yep,” he said.
“Okay, if it’s getting too heavy, I can finish up.”
“Okay, Daddy.” He relinquished the wrench and went about his boy way, with just a little more understanding of how things work.
I finished the job with a much more jovial disposition, and as I write this I recall that this small task was old hat for Benjamin, who helped on a previous plumbing adventure (photo included) two years ago, and the final step nearly a year later (photo also included).